Three goals and three points got Boro’s season up and running as they returned to competitive action at Coles Park. First half goals from Michael O’Donoghue and Bobson Bawling looked to be enough to see off an eventual 9-man opposition. But after a late Horsham goal Bawling got his second in added time to seal the game.
Boro lined up:
Jonathan Miles, Tosin Olufemi, Michael O’Donoghue, Rakim Richards, Scott Mitchell, Tyrese Owen, Jorge Djassi-Sambu, Georgios Aresti, Jamie-Lee O’Donoghue, Bobson Bawling, Christos Djamas
Subs: Sami Bessadi, Tiernan Parker, Mekhi McLeod, Chid Onokwai, Aron Gordon
It was the visitors who enjoyed the better of the initial exchanges but they were unable to trouble Miles form a free kick awarded close to the edge of the box. Boro were playing their way into the game with Olufemi and MO’D looking to play high against the opposition full backs, and with the first real attack on 10 minutes not only took a lead, but saw Horsham reduced to 10 players. JO’D received the ball deep and played a through ball to Bobson who was on the shoulder of the last defender. As the 2 players got close to the edge of the area, with Bobson marginally ahead the defender slid in and the ball ran through to the keeper. However, the ref blew his whistle, awarded Boro a free kick for a foul, and in the circumstances had no choice but to show a red card too.
Aresti and MO’d stood over the set piece, just to the right of centre. Aresti ran over the ball leaving MO’D to strike low into the far corner
With their numerical advantage Boro largely controlled the rest of the half.
JO’D saw a side footed volley saved by a well positioned keeper, then had a shot blocked amid muted appeals for a handball. A Djamas shot was deflected and pushed out for a corner, from which the keeper missed his punch but no Boro player able to capitalise before Horsham cleared.
Bobson was roving across the pitch and on the half hour he was worked into space but shot over.
Horsham made their first change around the same time, but before this could have any effect Boro doubled their lead.
While the lead was a single goal there was always a chance of Horsham equalising from a set piece but Boro got the goal the pressure probably deserved. Tosin received the ball on the right, turned inside and found Djamas. Djamas spotted Bobson’s run through the middle and played a slide rule pass. Bobson took the ball in his stride and sidefooted under the keeper.
Chances were minimal for the remainder of the half, but the frustration Horsham were feeling was exemplified by their sarcastic appeals for a Boro free kick as time ran out, and Boro went into the break 2 goals up.
Horsham made another change at the break, bringing Harris on for Fenelon who had found decent positions in the first half, but had any promising opportunities snuffed out by Richards, Mitchell and Owen.
Chances were limited with only an Aresti shot wide being any effort of note in the first part of the half. Then, on the hour the game took a turn for the worse for the visitors.
Firstly, Harris received a yellow card, after a lengthy stoppage and discussion between the officials. Then, less than a minute later he went in for a challenge on Aresti in midfield, slightly mistimed it and left the official with no option but to show a second yellow and reduce Horsham to 9.
McLeod and Bessadi were brought on for JO’D and Aresti as Boro sought a 3rd. McLeod curled over and Bobson had a shot parried when both had been well placed and might have done better.
Gordon came on for his home debut too, with 10 minutes to go as Boro continued to threaten.
Sambu stabbed an effort over, Gordon had an effort deflected wide and a dangerous low cross was cleared as Tosin hovered. MO’D sliced a shot wide after a corner was recycled and McLeod again shot wide as we entered added time.
But there was still time for more action. First, Owen was booked, seemingly for an accumulation of fouls, for an infringement on the edge of the area. Kavanagh stepped up and curled the ball beyond Miles to halve the deficit.
But any thought of an unlikely comeback was extinguished almost immediately as a hesitation in Horsham’s backline saw the ball break to Bobson who confidently strode towards the area to confidently finish from the edge of the area as the keeper advanced.
On the balance of play a deserved 3 points. Although the sendings off clearly had a major impact Boro kept the game under control, got the cushion of a second goal and were able to have a largely untroubled afternoon.
28th August 15:00: Bognor Regis Town (A), Nyewood lane, PO21 2TY
30th August 15:00: Wingate & Finchley (H)